PITTSBURGH – Prior to today’s game against the Reds, the Pirates added flexibility to their bullpen by trading RHP Arquimedes Caminero to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later.
“We helped him, he helped us,” Clint Hurdle said prior to today’s game regarding Caminero’s tenure with the Pirates. “There’s lessons to be learned here that I think he can take moving forward and be the best reliever he can be.”
“We’re continuing to find ways to get better as an organization,” Hurdle added, noting that it was important to have a spot available in the bullpen that could be put in play to help the team compete for a playoff spot.
Caminero struggled at various times this year, posting a 4.74 FIP and 11.8% walk rate after a successful 2015 campaign in which he had a 3.80 FIP and only issued a walk in 9.1% of his plate appearances.
Curtis Partch is expected to arrive prior to the game to take Caminero’s place in the bullpen, at least temporarily. Partch has thrown 48.1 innings for Indianapolis, striking out more than a batter per inning, while putting up a 2.49 FIP (2.05 ERA).
This will be the second stint with the Pirates for Partch this season; he made one appearance against the Cubs on June 19th, allowing three runs on two hits and a walk without recording an out.
Jeff Locke Moves to the Bullpen
Clint Hurdle also announced that Jeff Locke will move to a bullpen role starting with tomorrow’s series finale, when he will be sufficiently rested following his start on Wednesday.
This means that Partch will likely not be with the team for very long, as Locke will essentially be replacing Caminero in the bullpen.
Having both Juan Nicasio and Locke available to throw multiple innings in relief is an advantage in Hurdle’s eyes, and he noted that moving Locke should help both the bullpen as well as the starting rotation.
After performing at a roughly league-average level the last four years, Locke has had particular trouble striking hitters out, posting a strikeout rate (12.6%) five percentage points lower than his average over the last four seasons (17.6%).
In his two relief appearances this season, Locke has posted a 1.74 FIP (0.00 ERA), with three strikeouts and no walks in 4.1 IP.
Nova Makes His Pirates Debut
Starting pitcher Ivan Nova will make his first appearance as a Pirate, having been acquired on Monday from the New York Yankees for two players to be named later.
Nova has a 5.08 FIP this season, but a 4.06 xFIP thanks to a home run rate (21.3%) that is well above his career number (13.5%) as well as the AL average (12.8%).
He will look to get back on track at pitcher-friendly PNC Park against a Reds team ranked 13th in the National League in wRC+ (84). Nova has only faced Cincinnati twice in his career, and hasn’t opposed the Reds since the 2012 season.
Probable Pitchers This Week
Clint Hurdle mentioned that Ryan Vogelsong and Jameson Taillon will start against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
Tuesday’s starter is still to be announced, but Chad Kuhl was scratched from tonight’s game, so he may be returning to Pittsburgh in the near future. He also threw a bullpen today, according to our own Brian Peloza, showing that he’s healthy, and further leading to the idea that he will start on Tuesday.
Tonight's lineup for Indy-Toledo. Chad Kuhl a late scratch, but he is healthy and threw a bullpen today. pic.twitter.com/X9Y6NmQBH1
— Brian Peloza (@BrianPeloza) August 6, 2016